Portland, OR (July 14, 2022) – Portland Opera is thrilled to announce the four artists selected to join the company’s Resident Artist program in fall of 2022: soprano Judy Chirino Yannini, mezzo-soprano Cloe SanAntonio, tenor Matthew Cerillo, and bass-baritone Keanon Kyles. Portland Opera’s Resident Artist Program, established in 2005, is one of the company’s core programs—a rigorous residency and training program centered on the cultivation and support of emerging artists, as a bridge between the academic and professional world of opera.
“This program is near and dear to my heart” says Artistic Director Priti Gandhi. “I know, firsthand, that having the right mentorship and support at the right time can make a world of difference in developing a career. I am excited to relaunch the program after this brief pause and continue to see impactful residencies for these amazing artists. We are very much looking forward to welcoming Judy, Cloe, Matthew, and Keanon to Portland!”
For the 2022/23 season, the program has been reimagined to fully align with the company’s artistic strategies, based in Portland Opera’s mission, vision, and values. The incoming Portland Opera Resident Artists (PORA) will join the company for an eleven-week program of study with guest faculty and company members focused on voice lessons, musical coaching, language classes, drama and role study, and movement instruction. Resident Artists will also perform roles and study-cover in Carmen, participate in masterclasses, season preview events, community engagement activities, and leadership development opportunities.
The residency will culminate in a free community performance featuring all the Resident Artists, on Wednesday, November 16th, 2022, at 7:30 PM at The Old Church, located at 1422 SW 11th Ave. in downtown Portland. The program will feature the resident artists singing a selection of solos, duets, and ensemble pieces in a program curated with faculty and guest artists during their time with the company. Please note that COVID vaccination / negative test policies may still be in place by this performance date. Visit theoldchurch.org for tickets, as well as updated information regarding entry, or contact Portland Opera’s Patron Services team for more information about the event.
Portland Opera’s Resident Artist program was established in 2005. There are nearly 40 alumni of the program, who can be heard and seen on opera stages and in leadership positions nationally. This program is generously supported by the Burns Family Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation, Nicole Cabell, Matthew and Emmanuella Essieh, Dennis and Jacqueline Isiguen, Drew and Sue Snyder, Drs. Dolores and Fernando Leon, Eleanor Lieber Auditions Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation, Marilyn Crilley and George Rowbottom, Dorothy Piacentini, Portland Opera Resident Artist Storage Fund, and The Community Foundation of Southwest Washington. Learn more about how to support the Portland Opera Resident Artist program here.
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About the Artists:
Judy Chirino Yannini, soprano
“Because of Portland Opera’s dedication to diverse casting I’m thrilled to have recently received my Artists Visa in order to join the company this season. I’m excited to dive deeper into my artistry through coachings and lessons while I represent the country of Mexico and create quality opera alongside other amazing artists.”
Bio: Mexican soprano, Judy Yannini, is a recent graduate of the Maryland Opera Studio at the University of Maryland. This season Judy made her Kennedy Center debut singing the role of Sara Morales in ZAVALA-ZAVALA. She was recently seen with IN Series as Mimì in an all-Spanish production of La bohème. Other highlights include being awarded District Winner in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditionsin 2021, winning first prize in the American Opera Idol 2020 Competition with Opera Connecticut, and being named the overall winner of The Hartt Vocal Division Competition in 2018. Before immigrating to the United States, Judy made a name for herself singing onstage with internationally renowned Mexican tenor Fernando de la Mora in the 122nd Anniversary Concert in her native Tijuana, Mexico. She was also part of Centro Cultural Tijuana’s group Opera Ambulante in Tijuana, performing opera across Mexico, Canada and the USA.
Cloe SanAntonio, mezzo-soprano
“I am so excited to be working with Portland Opera this fall, especially as it will include my first Carmen production! I admire the company’s strong vision for inclusion in our art form, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to be a part of it!”
Bio: Praised for her “unique… distinctive voice of true mezzo timbre”, Cloe SanAntonio is quickly establishing herself as a passionate and incisive interpreter of Italian and French repertoire. This season, Cloe was recognized as a District winner in the Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition, and her upcoming engagements include Dorabella (Così fan tutte) and a gender-bent Dottore Grenvil (La traviata) as a Resident Artist with Opera North, as well as a return to the Savannah Voice Festival for their summer season where she will sing Marthe in Faust and cover the title role in Michael Ching’s Alice Ryley.
Earlier this season, she was a featured soloist with the Ridgewood Symphony Orchestra, performing excerpts from Bizet’s Carmen, as well as part of the Savannah Voice Festival’s 2021 summer season. While in Savannah, Cloe was heard performing a variety of repertoire in several concerts, and, most notably, as Angelina in the premiere of Michael Ching’s A Royal Feast, where she was also scheduled to sing the same role in Rossini’s La Cenerentola in 2020.
During the 2019-2020 season, she made her international debut with the Festival d’Art Vocal in Montréal singing Musette in Leoncavallo’s rarely presented La bohème and was awarded the Richard F. Gold Career Grant from the Shoshana Foundation. She was also recognized in competition as a District Winner (Connecticut) and Encouragement Award Winner (New England Region) in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions as well as by the Premiere Opera Foundation International Vocal Competition as a semi-finalist and prize winner. In the season prior, she was awarded as a grant recipient of the Gerda Lissner Foundation.
Cloe holds a Bachelor of Music from Long Island University and a Master of Music from Mannes: The New School of Music, where she also earned a Professional Studies Diploma as a student of Beth Roberts. She was the 2018 winner of the Mannes Concerto Competition, and performed Ravel’s Shéhérazade with the Mannes Orchestra, under the direction of Maestro David Hayes. As a Mannes Opera Young Artist, she was heard on stage as Dorabella (Così fan tutte) and “delighted audiences” as Mother Goose (The Rake’s Progress), both under the baton of Maestro Joseph Colaneri. She also performed numerous opera scenes including Charlotte (Werther), Carmen, Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Octavian (Der Rosenkavalier). Equally at home in contemporary repertoire, she studied the role of Jackie Kennedy (JFK), under the tutelage of its composer, David T. Little.
Her training has also included apprenticeships with Teatro Nuovo (formerly Bel Canto at Caramoor) and OperaWorks.
Cloe is a native of Long Island, New York.
Matthew Cerillo, tenor
“Working with Portland Opera has always been a dream of mine because I share so many values with the organization. Their commitment to social change, community involvement, and meaningful storytelling is crucial for bringing opera into the 21st century.”
Bio: Matthew Cerillo is an Italian-American tenor from Freehold, New Jersey. He recently graduated with a master’s in music from The Mannes School of Music in the studio of Arthur Levy. Matthew also received a Bachelors in Voice Performance from Hofstra University. Most recently, he was a finalist in the Giulio Gari Foundation International Vocal Competition. Matthew is a proud winner of an Encouragement Award from the 2022 Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition. He has also placed 3rd in both the NAO Carolyn Bailey Competition as well as the MTNA National Competition. Matthew has been awarded the highest scholarship at Mannes: The President’s Scholarship; as well as the greatest solo vocal honor at Hofstra: The William B. Rosencrans Endowed Scholarship and Recital. He has participated in Ukrainian Artists Music in Kiev (with the National Presidential Orchestra of Ukraine), Music in the Alps in Austria, West Chester Summer Vocal Institute in Bronxville, and the Oyster Bay Music Festival in Oyster Bay. Matthew has most recently performed as a lead character in a workshop for a new work by Missy Mazzoli, working in close collaboration with the composer. He has studied the roles of Rodolfo (La bohème), The Duke (Rigoletto) and Alfredo (La traviata) with Metropolitan Opera’s Joshua Greene during quarantine. Matthew has also performed the role of Tamino for Hofstra University's 2020 production of Die Zauberflöte, Don Basilio (Le nozze di Figaro), Demetrius (The Fairy Queen), as well as Dianna Trapes, Filch, and Ben Budge (The Beggar's Opera) with full orchestra.
Keanon Kyles, bass-baritone
"I'm so excited to make music in a new environment and to grow as an artist while being inspired by the amazing artists around me. Portland Opera has dedicated part of their mission to creating a stage that resembles the world we live in, and I am so excited to be a part of that creation"
Bio: Keanon Kyles was praised by CNN for his “beautiful technique.” Keanon was raised in Chicago where he received his degree in music from Chicago’s Columbia College. He made his opera debut as Colline in Puccini's La bohème in North Chicago. Conducted by the Metropolitan Opera’s Maestro David Jackson, he made his Italian debut in Trento as Betto in Gianni Schicchi and Peter in Hansel and Gretel. After making his U.K. debut as Colline in La bohème he returned to Scotland to perform the title-role in Rigoletto in a Scottish opera production.
He made his Chicago Opera Theater debut as Daggoo in their production of Moby-Dick. Shortly after he made his South America debut as Noye in Noye’s Fludde. Kyles then returned to Chicago to make his Lyric Opera debut by way of their Lyric Unlimited program in their production of Earth to Kenzie. He had the great pleasure of following that successful production with a Carnegie Hall solo debut. Kyles recently has been a part of several world premieres throughout Chicago, some being Freedom Ride by Dan Shore, Taking Up Serpents by Kamala Sankaram, and most recently Quamino’s Map by Errolyn Wallen and has also premiered new art song pieces by composers Stacy Garrop, Wang Lu, Matthew Recio, and Shawn Okpebholo.
Keanon recently completed the Young Artist program with Chicago Opera Theater and graduated from the post-grad Opera Performance program through Chicago College of Performing Arts. Aside from operatic performances, Kyles has performed a plethora of concert work with Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He has been featured on the front page of the Chicago Sun-Times and his music career has been highlighted on Good Morning America, CNN, BBC News, and NPR amongst other major media outlets. Outside of performing he is a voice teacher—leading private and group classes through Lyriq Music School and is affiliated with the Chicago Children’s Choir. He also sits on the board of LATTE Theater based out of La Grange, Il and a non-profit organization called C21 as their Artistic Development Brand Consultant. He is a two-time Reva and David Logan Foundation award recipient and fellow and resident of the private artist club, The Cliff Dwellers.